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January 1959

The Results of Treatment for Obesity: A Review of the Literature and Report of a Series

Author Affiliations

Philadelphia; New York

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Department of Nutrition of the New York Hospital.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(1):79-85. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270010085011

The current widespread concern with weight reduction rests on at least two assumptions: first, that weight-reduction programs are effective; second, that they are harmless. Recent studies indicate that such programs may be far from harmless.1,2 This report documents their ineffectiveness. The results of treatment, as reported in the medical literature of the past 30 years, are first reviewed. The results of routine treatment of 100 consecutive obese persons in the Nutrition Clinic of the New York Hospital are then reported.

Review of the Literature  Hundreds of papers on treatment for obesity have been published in the past 30 years. Most, however, do not give figures on the outcome of treatment, and of those that do, most report them in such a way as to obscure the outcome of treatment of individual patients. Some authors, for example, report the total number of patients and the pounds lost without making clear

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